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September Must-Reads

This month, we read transparent accounts from the Ford Foundation’s Megan Morrison and Chris Cardona, who shared the foundation’s journey addressing its flawed approach to collecting grantee diversity data, and Laura Weidman Powers, who wrote about why and how she stepped down as Code2040 CEO. We also read about the importance of getting out the …

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This month, we read transparent accounts from the Ford Foundation’s Megan Morrison and Chris Cardona, who shared the foundation’s journey addressing its flawed approach to collecting grantee diversity data, and Laura Weidman Powers, who wrote about why and how she stepped down as Code2040 CEO. We also read about the importance of getting out the vote, tensions in philanthropy and a report on young professionals in philanthropy.


1. Making It Count: The Evolution of the Ford Foundation’s Diversity Data Collection

EQUITY | Center for Effective Philanthropy | 10-minute read

When the Ford Foundation revisited its grantmaking process, it also revisited the questions it asks applicants and grantees about diversity. In this blog post, the foundation shares its journey identifying flaws in its previous approach to gathering grantee diversity data, how it now collects and analyzes the data, and what it’s learning. This journey also led the foundation to turn the spotlight on itself and begin an internal diversity, equity and inclusion audit.

2. How to Know When It’s Time to Go

LEADERSHIP | LinkedIn Pulse | 11-minute read

In a powerfully transparent blog post, Code2040 cofounder Laura Weidman Powers shares the story of why and how she stepped down as the organization’s CEO. She writes openly about the pressure and loneliness that can come with leadership, how she prepared for a successor and how she knew when the organization’s success no longer depended on her leadership.

3. Stop Sitting on the Sidelines, Nonprofits, and Get Out the Vote

ADVOCACY | The Chronicle of Philanthropy | 4-minute read

Outcomes of the November midterm elections will impact the work of nonprofits. More than ever, nonprofits should—and legally can—encourage and educate voters this year, argues Billy Shore, the founder of Share Our Strength and Community Wealth Partners. (For more resources on how foundations can effectively and legally support voting and advocacy, explore the Council on Foundations’ Advocacy Toolkit and Bolder Advocacy’s resources for foundations supporting advocacy.)

4. Gospels of Giving for the New Gilded Age

EQUITY | New Yorker | 15-minute read

Is philanthropy solving problems or creating new ones? Should philanthropists be focused on doing more good or doing less harm? Starting with a description of Andrew Carnegie’s approach to donating his wealth while cutting wages for employees, the writer of this article considers these questions through four pieces of literature, including the recently published “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World” by Anand Giridharadas.

5. Dissonance & Disconnects: How entry- and mid-level foundation staff see their futures, their institutions and their field 

SECTOR TRENDS | Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy | 20-minute read 

This report by Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy shares findings from a 2017 survey about early- and mid-level foundation staff members’ thoughts, feelings and experiences in philanthropy. The survey results reveal that:

  • 55 percent of young professionals in philanthropy see themselves leaving philanthropy within the next five years
  • 6 percent see a clear path to advance from their current positions within their institutions
  • 51 percent think philanthropy is an effective player in social change
  • 21 percent think the culture of philanthropy is inclusive of all backgrounds
  • 40 percent think their institutions are in touch with the needs of the communities they support

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